Sunday 25 August 2019

Girl (12) whose arm was scalded when tea carried under her elbow spilled settles for €85k

Siobhan Mooney, mother of Demi Mooney Photo: Collins
Siobhan Mooney, mother of Demi Mooney Photo: Collins
Stock image

Tim Healy

A 12-year-old girl whose arm was scalded when a takeaway cup of tea she was carrying under her elbow in a Starbucks spilled on her has settled a High Court action over the accident for €85,000.

Demi Mooney, now 16, was in Starbucks, Henry Street, Dublin, with her grandmother on December 21, 2014, when she bought a Frappuccino coffee, a tea and a large cookie. She was carrying the coffee in her left hand, the cookie in her right and the tea between her elbow and ribs when the tea spilled on her.

In her action, brought on her behalf by her mother, Siobhan Mooney, it was was claimed that she should have been provided with a tray for the hot drinks, particularly as she was a child.

Coffee Unlimited Company, trading as Starbucks, fully contested the case and the court heard there were issues of whether she had been offered a tray and of contributory negligence.

Michael Byrne SC, for Demi, said an offer of €85,000 had been made by the defendant. Given the claim of contributory negligence, which counsel said was in the region of 20 to 25 per cent, and a prognosis that the scarring to her arm was permanent, it was felt this was a fair and reasonable offer.

Immediately after the accident, she received assistance from a nurse and doctor who were on the premises. She went to Temple Street Children's Hospital where she underwent repeated treatments in the Plastics Clinic as well as for occupational therapy.

Counsel said her consultant was of the view that because the scarring to her arm was permanent, further treatment would make things worse rather than better. The main difficulties for her were cosmetic and she wears long sleeved garments. She was at an age when appearances are particularly important.

Mr Justice Simons was satisfied to approve the offer as it would come very close to what a judge might decide the case was worth if successful at trial.

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